At the last Council Meeting (16/12/2014), a petition (with approximately 1,000 verified signatures), was submitted to Council requesting that a heritage survey be conducted of the little known Frogmore House (1857) in Wahgoo Road, Carnegie. A recent advice of a proposal to demolish and replace Frogmore, with a state of the art 120 bed aged care facility, made residents realise that Frogmore House had been overlooked in past Council heritage surveys and, therefore, did not have heritage classification. In addition to the petition, the residents have also lodged submissions, to include Frogmore House in the Victorian Heritage Register, with Heritage Victoria.
GERA has been supporting the residents in their quest to have Frogmore House assessed for historical importance (social, cultural and heritage) as it is a significant property with potentially National and definite State and Local importance and is worthy of preservation.
As a result of the petition, Council “engaged a heritage adviser to “reassess” the heritage value of Frogmore House … the report is due within days” (Leader Article – 13/01/2015). While GERA is not aware of the content of the adviser’s report, GERA welcomes Heritage Victoria’s recent advise that, at Council’s initiation, an Interim Protection Order (IPO) has been issued for Frogmore House. The IPO prevents any demolition works being undertaken until Heritage Victoria has completed an assessment and determination of the significance of Frogmore House.
GERA congratulates the residents who undertook substantial reasearch and organised the “Save Frogmore” campaign (a superb effort), those who signed the petition and Glen Eira Council, particularly Mayor Jim Magee, for initiating the IPO.
SIGNIFICANCE OF FROGMORE HOUSE
The following is a summary of the residents’ submissions to Heritage Victoria for the inclusion of Frogmore House in the Victorian Heritage Register.
Frogmore House is an intact early single storey Italianate working farm family residence (with an ornate red brick tower, surrounding verandas on 3 sides and a garden setting with mature vegetation) built in 1857. It is situated in the former farmer settlement area then known as the Caulfield District and now known as suburban Carnegie/Murrumbeena .
Surrounding buildings, which obscure the street view of Frogmore House and are associated with Frogmore’s immediate past (65 years) usage as an aged care residence, are not included in the Heritage Listing Application.
House area: approx. 718 sqm (yellow) – comprising 6-8 rooms, linked by internal hallways, and a tower
Land area: approx. 8000 sqm (red)
Over the years, the land area of the property has decreased and although various additions have been made in accordance with Frogmore’s aged care usage, these have been sympathetic
- Externally the integrity and structure of the original house remains. Additions, and their connection to the original working farm family residence havebeenwell considered in terms of
- architectural styling and connectivity (via original doorways and windows)
- Mature tree preservation
- Internally, public access and residential areas retain original ceiling and wall mouldings and are well maintained. The tower staircase remains.
Statement of cultural heritage significance:
Frogmore House was designed by renowned Architect Joseph Reed, as the working farm/family residence for William Lyall (a significant Scottish Pioneer who was in residence 1857-1868). In 1868 it became the residence of Archibald McLaurin (another significant Scottish Pioneer who was in residence 1868 to 1891).
Joseph Reed (1823?-1890) – Cornish Architect who arrived in Victoria during the Gold Rush (1853)
- “A dominant figure during Melbourne’s period of greatest growth, Reed was responsible for some of the largest and most important building commission in the city and in doing so was instrumental in making Melbourne one of the great Victorian cities” (Goad and Willis)
- As well as prominent city buildings, Reed also designed smaller buildings and residences and was renowned for designing according to the intended “function of the building”.
- Some prominent city buildings designed by Reed are Geelong Town Hall (1854), Melbourne Public Library (1854), Melbourne Town Hall (1864), Independent Church (1866) and the world heritage listed Exhibition Buildings (1878)
- While few of the residences designed by Reed remain today, 2 exist within Glen Eira.
- Frogmore House (1857) , designed in the Italianate* style as a single storey working farm/family residence (6-8 rooms). It features polychromatic (two tone) brick work, bay windows, an ornate red brick tower and surrounding verandas on 3 sides and
- The much grander Rippon Lea (1868), also designed in the Italiante* style (Lombardic Romanesque) as a two-storey, 15 room house for a successful (former goldfields) merchant’s family residence and estate. It features polychromatic (three tone) brickwork and an extensive pleasure garden around the house. Rippon Lea, circa 1880. Rippon Lea has experienced alterations and additions over time.
William Lyall (1821-1888) – Resided at Frogmore 1857-1868.
- a Scottish immigrant originally to Van Diemens Land, moved to Melbourne in 1847 and became a successful livestock merchant and noted Melbourne pastoralist
- He returned to England and studied agricultural chemistry in Britain (1854-1856), returning to Victoria with stud livestock and gained a reputation as a stock breeder (cattle and sheep, race horses and game birds) with sales within Victoria and to Tasmania, NSW and New Zealand.
- He established a model farm at Frogmore Estate (originally 93 acres (37.6 ha), expanded to 212 acres (85.8 ha)). Both at Frogmore’s model farm and a Tooradin property he pursued practical and innovative farming practices (seeds and pastures) and animal husbandry techniques
- He was a regular contributor to the “Argus” writing articles on animal husbandry and other agricultural matters
- The Public Offices held by Lyall, while residing at Frogmore, include founder of the Victorian Agricultural Society, Zoological Society, Acclimatisation Society (Southern vs Northern Hemisphere impacts on pasture plantings and livestock) and Victoria Racing Club, member of the National Agricultural Society, Member of the Legislative Assembly (Mornington 1859-1861) and Territorial Magistrate.
Archibald McLaurin, J.P. (NSW) (1815 -1891) Resided at Frogmore 1868-1891.
- A Scottish immigrant (1839), one of the first overlanders and a noted pastoralist in Port Phillip and New South Wales
- In the late 1860’s he sold his pastoral interests and acquired Frogmore where he lived until his death in 1891. While at Frogmore he grazed sheep (at Frogmore and Mordialloc) and was active in the community and local affairs (he was a Caulfield Shire Councillor)
- He encouraged Scottish migration for the development of Victoria and the development of Murrumbeena area as a farmer-settler community in the 1860’s to 1870’s
- In 1891 he donated two blocks of land (east side of Murrumbeena Road) for the building of a Presbyterian Church – now St. Giles Uniting Church
Following the death of Archibald McLaurin, during the period 1891-1951 details on the subsequent occupants (owners and or tenants) of Frogmore are limited (eg. 1906 – Gairdner, 1913 – J.G. Thompson, 1921 – L.O. Menck, 1925-1945 – J. Keys). However, various period documents and newspaper articles record Frogmore House as hosting Melbourne society functions/gatherings, Church Services and Fund Raising events throughout this period.
In 1951, Frogmore House was acquired by the Churches of Christ and operated as the “William Clay Nursing Home” (originally 25, later extended to 48 beds). In the 1990’s it was further extended to 60 beds and renamed “Betheden”. As previously mentioned, although various additions have been made in accordance with Frogmore’s 65 years of continuing aged care usage, these additions have been sympathetic to the integrity and structure of the original house and the interior has been well maintained.
HERITAGE VICTORIA SIGNIFICANCE CRITERIA – FROGMORE ASSESSMENT
Criterion A – Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria’s cultural history.
- Example of a grand early working farm family residence whose early owners included pastoralists, actively involved with the development of Melbourne and Victoria. It’s location in Carnegie demonstrates the pattern of land settlement as Melbourne and Victoria developed.
Criterion B – Possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Victoria’s cultural history.
- Frogmore House is a rare example of an early (1857) Italianate* single storey working farm family residence in the former Caulfield District of Melbourne. Few residences remain from the 1850s.
- Other remaining Glen Eira heritage listed 1857 single storey residences (Rosecraddock and Halstead)
- although all three are described as Italianate* in style, each represents diverse interpretations of that style (Rosecraddock does not feature a tower and although Halstead does have a three storey tower – with a Mansard roof and cast-iron balustrade – it is significantly different from Frogmore’s two storey polychromatic renaissance style brick tower)
- bothRosecraddock and Halstead
- are stuccoed and do not feature polychromatic brickwork
- are not attributable to a known architect (although Rosecraddock’s recessed central verandah section and cast iron lace, added in the 1880’s, is attributed to architect Lloyd Tayler).
- have been considerably altered over time (Rosecraddock in the period 1850’s – 1880’s and with a recent subdivision and stable relocation/conversion ; Halstead’s heritage recognition acknowledges a history of alteration and addition.)
- were designed and constructed as residences of wealthy Melbournian Public Servants and Merchants rather than as a functioning model farm and family residence (of a wealthy livestock merchant and pastoralist interested in practical and innovative animal husbandry practices and pasture improvements).
- locations represent their importance in the socio-economic history of south eastern suburban Melbourne, whereas Frogmore’s simultaneous construction emphasizes the inland pattern of development as well as that socio-economic history.
Criterion C – Potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Victoria’s cultural heritage
- Significance of pasture experimentation and animal husbandry innovations on the development of Victoria -Lyall
- Encouraged Scottish migration and development (farmer-settlers) of Victoria and Caulfield District (now Melbourne and in particular Carnegie/Murrumbeena) – McLaurin and Lyall .
Criterion F – Importance in demonstrating high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period
- Joseph Reed – diversity and development of architectural design in private (Frogmore, Rippon Lea) and public buildings (Parliament House, Exhibition Buildings)
- William Lyall – successful livestock merchant (imported stud bloodlines) and innovations/experimentations with pastures (grasses and seeds) and animal husbandry.
- Archibald McLaurin – pioneer and noted pastoralist
Criterion G – Strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social cultural or spiritual reasons
- Aboriginal – nomination of street names eg. Bambra, originally Cambrook – now Kambrook, Koornang and Neerim (accredited to Lyall)
- Scottish Community (Lyall and McLaurin). Scottish St names in Murrumbeena – Ardyne Street, Innellan Road, Ariadne Avenue, Dunoon Street, McLaurin Road
- Pastoralist Community (Lyall and McLaurin)
- Founder of the Victorian Agricultural Society, Zoological Society, Acclimatisation Society and Victoria Racing Club (Lyall)
- Religious Community (Lyall, McLaurin and Presbyterian/Uniting Church, Churches of Christ)
- Hosting social and community events (Lyall and McLaurin and other owners/tennants)
Criterion H – Special association with the life or works of a person or group of persons of importance in Victoria’s history
- Joseph Reed
- William Lyall
- Archibald McLaurin
- Presbyterian/Uniting Church/Church’s of Christ
* Italianate Style – featured asymmetry and, usually, a tower of varying size. In Australia, the addition of the verandah, sometimes arcaded but later in Filigree (wrought iron), gave a regional flavour to the style.